Social media as we know it today is not even 10 years old, and like children that same age, it can be unruly, wild and amazing. But the opportunity to reach thousands and beyond with a single web page or a well-placed post is attractive to small business owners.
If you spend even a week on Facebook, you’ll discover that identifying and connecting with your “fans” takes real effort. Your target audience doesn’t just show up because your page exists. You have to engage them, consistently. You have to share and give a little insight into what your business does and the people behind your brand. The goal is to put out just the right amount of information so you don’t come off cold, distant and too corporate to connect; all while avoiding a deadly dose of TMI – too much information.
A Public Meltdown
Apparently Amy and Samy Bouzaglo, owners of Amy’s Baking Company Bakery Boutique & Bistro, didn’t get the memo about oversharing. When they reached out to Chef Gordon Ramsay for help, they had the chance to work one-on-one with Chef Ramsay while appearing on his television show, Kitchen Nightmares. Sounds good right? Think about it: Professional help and nationwide publicity.
Well, the Bouzaglo’s went from a kitchen nightmare to a social media horror show. According to Raphael Brion of eater.com, Gordon Ramsay walked out on the duo stating “I met two owners I could not help. It is because they are incapable of listening.” After their episode aired earlier this past May, the Bouzaglo’s took to their Facebook page to defend themselves against the public response, or as they put it, “the witch hunt.”
While using social media during a crisis to protect your brand, connect with your audience and perform damage control is usually a good idea, a meltdown mixed with prayers and curse words is a different story. Ryan Broderick in This Is the Most Epic Brand Meltdown on Facebook Ever offers a quick play by play, and it serves as a lesson in what not to do on Facebook.
- Don’t curse people out.
- DON’T YELL AT YOUR FANS (using all caps feels like yelling or a lack of experience to the social media savvy).
- When facing a personal attack, your first thought shouldn’t be the first thing you type. You know what it feels like to be mad, so don’t type when you are angry.
So What Are You Going to Do?
Have a little fun with it. Treat your Facebook page like a party, suggested Kelley Weir in Social Media Is the New Cocktail Party.
“Apply the same skills that you might use to work the room of a cocktail party to build the right relationship with your followers and fans,” she stated in the article.
In this vein, Weir highlights a few tips from social media strategist, Penney Fox, including her 70-20-10 rule. When it comes to posting on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and other platforms, Fox believes that:
- Seventy percent of your content should be helpful information that naturally relates to your audience and your product.
- Twenty percent can and should be promotional; after all, you are in business to sell something.
- Ten percent should be for entertainment: fun information, contests or games that relate to your core content.
Even though all marketing – social media included – is about advancing a targeted message, you can and should have fun with it. Like that cocktail party, you don’t want to be the shy person standing in the corner not socializing because you’re too scared to meet anyone new. And you definitely don’t want to be that sloppy drunk who crosses the line of appropriateness.
For small business owners, Facebook is about being the most engaging version of your sober-minded self. Fox nailed it with her 70-20-10 rule, so dive in.
By Jamillah Warner (MsJ)
Liberal arts educated, small business raised, MsJ’s a poet with a passion for visual, verbal and written branding and the author GrittyWriter.com.